The Nutritional Benefits of Corn

Corn is one of the most popular foods around the world. Also, known as maize (Zea mays), it origins started in this continent of America. The Aztecs and Mayans used it as an essential form of their diet.
Centuries ago they used a process called nixtamalization which involves cooking corn in an alkaline solution of calcium hydroxide, or lime water.

Here in the United States, in the Southern states it was popular to grind the corn without a prior process, mix it with water and make corn cakes. It has since evolved and is used in many different products such as popcorn, cornbread, tortilla chips, polenta, corn syrup and corn oil.

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Corn has various health benefits, providing various essential minerals such as manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc. Corn encourage digestion due its high fiber content.

You can find corn in a variety of colors that have the a slight different variety of earthy, sweet taste. With some products such as cornstarch is tasteless.

Although corn in it’s purest form has the most nutrients, some of these can get lost in processing. Enriched products such as cereals often enhance their products with vitamins and minerals.

Cooking Light has 66 Healthy Corn Recipes, there is guaranteed at least one you might like! Link Here

Nutritional Facts Raw Corn

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Nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) according to USDA

  • Calories: 86 kcal
  • Water: 76.05 gm
  • Protein: 3.27 g
  • Carbs: 18.7 g
  • Sugar: 6.26 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Fat: 1.35 g
  • Calcium, Ca: 2 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg: 37 mg
  • Phosphorus, P: 89 mg
  • Potassium, K: 270 mg
  • Vitamin C: 6.8 mg

 

Nutritional Facts Sweet, Yellow Corn Boiled

Nutritional facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) according to USDA

  • Calories: 96 kcal                             
  • Water: 73.41 g
  • Protein: 3.41 g
  • Carbs: 18.7 g
  • Sugars: 4.54 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Fat: 1.5 g
  • Calcium, Ca: 3 mg
  • Iron, Fe: 0.45 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg: 26 mg
  • Phosphorus, P: 77 mg
  • Potassium, K: 218 mg
  • Vitamin C: 5.5 mg

Nutrition Facts Corn Flour

Nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) according to USDA

Brand: Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc.

Nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) according to USDA

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Brand: Goya Foods, Inc.

  • Calories: 361 kcal
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Carbs: 77 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Calcium, C: 220 mg
  • Iron, Fe: 5.4 mg
  • Sodium, Na: 0 mg
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Need a crash course on making gluten free corn tortillas? Simple Vegan Blog has a great one! Link Here 

Recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Corn Pancakes- A Virtual Vegan

Why do the Nutritional Values Change?

You might have noticed that the amounts of nutrition vary from product to product, this is due to processing. The farthest a product changes from its original form the more vitamin and nutrients that it loses.

Processing can be anything from boiling, milling, sprouting, steaming etc. Time and temperature can have a considerable impact on the vitamin status.

It is not all negative, it also removes harmful microorganisms that are likely to harm us. Minerals, and especially vitamins are affected by processing1.

Processing has four main reasons for which it was created2

  • Preservation
  • Palatability
  • Transportation
  • Everyday convenience

Thankfully processing is evolving and processing methods have become gentler, and non-thermal. Enriched products put vitamins and minerals back into the products to help with the nutritional quality.

The best and healthiest way to eat food is in its original form. This is not always possible therefore it is important to remember to eat a good variety of foods to get the necessary amount of daily nutrients that are needed for your everyday body needs.

Important Points Worth Mentioning

Corn is mostly composed of carbs and fiber, but it also contains protein. The proteins in corn are inadequate and lack  some essential amino acids.

The sugar in corn is not a high-glycemic food, it ranks medium to low in glycemic index3.

Corn also has a dark side and it is fungi called mycotoxins these can occur prior to harvesting or when stored improperly. Eating high amounts of corn with this fungi can cause cancer, and birth defects that can cause disability or death4.

Extrusion cooking has been found to inactivate some of the mycotoxins, leaving some to require severe extrusion conditions to detoxify the corn5.

Resources:

1. Reddy MB, Love M. The impact of food processing on the nutritional quality of vitamins and minerals. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;459:99-106. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4615-4853-9_7. PMID: 10335371.

2. Knorr D, Watzke H. (2019) Food Processing at a Crossroad; Frontiers in Nutrition https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00085

3. (2021)Glycemic Index: The University of Sydney https://www.glycemicindex.com/

4. Wang LD, Yang HH, Fan ZM, Lü XD, Wang JK, Liu XL, Sun Z, Jiang YN, He X, Zhou Q. Cytological screening and 15 years’ follow-up (1986-2001) for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and precancerous lesions in a high-risk population in Anyang County, Henan Province, Northern China. Cancer Detect Prev. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16118042/

5.   Bryant, C. M., & Hamaker, B. R. (1997). Effect of lime on gelatinization of corn flour and starch. Cereal chemistry74(2), 171-175.

3 Replies to “The Nutritional Benefits of Corn”

  1. I like reading your post on corn. I never knew corn had a lot of nutritional benefits for the body. I am amazed at the difference between corn. I have learned something today. Thank you for this post.

  2. Very interesting article. I’m always trying to make sure that my family eat healthy and natural products. Yet it’s not always easy with so many different types to choose and your review is very helpful. I’m looking forward to check some of your recommendations especially that previously I did not use corn flour to often.

  3. I found this site after looking through the internet to  find new recipe ideas, as corn is one of my all time Favourites in my diet! 😀 Thanks for sharing this information, it’s great because it is the only one of my favourites it seems, that has any nutritional value lol! 🙂

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